The ceremony of a three-martini lunch may no longer be a staple of the American businessman, but the pairing of stirred spirits and steak is something that we hope will never fade. Typically, one might consider requesting whiskey as a great match for beef, but at Prime Meats in Brooklyn, head barman Damon Boelte has given us one more reason to consider gin, or in this case, genever, with his Forest for the Trees cocktail.
Inspired by his discovery of a Douglas Fir tea, available at his local grocer, Damon utilized this piney essence to tame the maltiness of the copper pot-stilled genever, which also proved to be a great match for one my favorite liqueurs, Green Chartreuse. Damon included Dolin Blanc (or bianco) vermouth, a more floral version of the dry vermouth, to bring back some sweetness and balance this drink, which could be compared to the classic Bijou cocktail. Though one might feel apprehension at the thought of a heavily pronounced evergreen cocktail, this tea is actually quite delicate, which is why it requires a longer 24-hour infusion to impart its flavor into the genever and as a result, just a hint of pine in the drink.
While equally enjoyable on its own, with a steak, especially those of the caliber of Prime Meats, this drink pairs beautifully, cutting through the fat to instantly cleanse the palate while also contrasting any richness with hints of forest and citrus. It reinforces why so many chefs and bartenders consider fall to be a favorite time of year; not only for the intense flavors that define this season, but also a subsequent willingness of the palate amongst guests that allows for these kinds of delicious combinations. If one could point to an archetypal drink for fall, it would be ponderous, stirred cocktails such as this.
- 2 oz Bols Genever infused with Douglas Fir tea*
- 3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
- Combine ingredients and stir with ice for 10 to 15 seconds in a mixing glass.
- Strain into a chilled coupe, express oils from a lemon twist and garnish.
- Combine several ounces Douglas Fir tea with Bols Genever and let sit for 24 hours. Then strain to remove tea and return spirit to bottle.